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Start-up on a shoestring

How the cost of starting a business has tumbled

There was a time when people were dissuaded from starting their own business on account of the costs of entry. Not everyone had access to the thousands of pounds required to rent an office, buy equipment and get going. But the scene has changed.

Backed up with evidence from a Microsoft survey, you can turn your business dream into reality with less capital than ever before. In fact, under 20% of respondents started their business with no capital at all.

Those business owners who did require some form of start-up capital preferred self-funding, the bank and then friends and family, in that order. Only 6% of people accessed special grants.

Start-up for £500

We recently conducted some in-house research to see if it was possible to start a business for under £ 500. It was. For this amount you can purchase a laptop, business cards, a website and furniture for your home office, with enough left over for a congratulatory bottle of champagne.

So, starting a new business can work out cheaper than the cost of two return tickets from Manchester to London on a Virgin train. Which experience would you prefer?

Quote Costs have continued to come down on account of location, technology and globalisation.  End Quote

Home is now the most popular location for business start-ups as the cost of technology is decreasing day by day and IT equipment can comfortably be accommodated. Losing the daily commute can also gain valuable extra time to devote to the business.

The most popular business start-ups in the UK are in the 'knowledge sector' - accountants, designers, IT specialists; all trades that don't depend on expensive equipment and instead rely on 'selling' the knowledge that resides in the business owner's head.

Invest in happiness

As start-up costs tumble, the returns gained from being your own boss are increasing. Studies show that the self-employed are happier than their employed colleagues and are more likely to become a millionaire.

So don't discount starting up a new business based on the costs of entry as you would be surprised by what you can achieve for under £500. It may just be the best investment you ever make.

What next?

Visit Microsoft Small Business+ for a free e-learning module on setting up your accounting and tracking business finances. Sign up now >

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